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Recently asked questions relating to King's Cross leasehold conveyancing

Back In 2008, I bought a leasehold house in King's Cross. Conveyancing and Bank of Scotland mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing solicitor in King's Cross who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a King's Cross conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in King's Cross. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a King's Cross conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a King's Cross conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non King's Cross conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in King's Cross from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in King's Cross can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
    • Many freeholders or Management Companies in King's Cross levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in King's Cross.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? King's Cross leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you dont have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in the first instance.
  • Some King's Cross leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is less than 75 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £400000 flat in King's Cross next Thursday . The freeholder has quoted £360 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in King's Cross?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in King's Cross conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Answering pre-contract questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in King's Cross
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for King's Cross leasehold premises is £350. For King's Cross conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to supply the information.

    I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a King's Cross conveyancing firm to assist?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a King's Cross residence is Flat 89 Trinity Court Grays Inn Road in February 2013. the Tribunal found that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 to the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 should be £36,229. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 66.8 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in King's Cross